Glaucoma is a depressingly common cause of blindness. Even more depressing, however, is the fact that only about half of the 3 million Americans who have glaucoma are completely unaware of their condition. This means that their optic nerves are slowly being destroyed when the proper treatment could be preserving their function. Here at Foster Vision, our Portland optometry team can detect glaucoma in its early stages and implement a treatment strategy to help you maintain optimal vision for life.

How Glaucoma Causes Vision Loss

Glaucoma is a condition in which the optic nerve of the eye degenerates, eventually leading to loss of vision as the nerve fibers can no longer relay images to the brain. A number of problems can cause or contribute to glaucoma development, from eye injuries and hypertension to inherited factors, being over 40 years old, or family history of the disease. The most common cause of actual damage is high intraocular fluid pressure. The eye constantly produces a fluid called the aqueous humor, with the excess fluid leaving the eye through a drainage system. If this drainage system isn’t doing its job or the aqueous humor is being overproduced, eye pressure gets higher and higher until it damages the optic nerve tissue.

Most glaucoma patients have a gradual-onset form of the disease called open-angle glaucoma. In this condition, imperfect eye drainage may cause no symptoms for years. Loss of peripheral vision is usually the first obvious sign that something is wrong. Some people, however, experience much more dramatic symptoms if they have a condition called angle-closure glaucoma. This total shutdown of the drainage system can cause headaches, nausea, vomiting, eye redness, and sudden vision loss.

Our Optometry Clinic Can Help You Save Your Eyesight

Regular eye exams can help you protect yourself against glaucoma. A comprehensive eye exam can detect glaucoma even if you aren’t showing symptoms. In addition to checking your eye pressure and visually inspecting your optic nerves, we will check your peripheral vision for any signs of deficiency. Glaucoma can usually be controlled through medications such as oral drugs and eye drops. If your glaucoma isn’t responding to these conservative treatments, we can refer you to a specialist for easy, painless outpatient surgery to improve the drainage system’s efficiency.

Call Our Portland Office to Schedule an Exam

Don’t let an advancing case of glaucoma catch you by surprise. Head that problem off at the pass by calling our Portland office at (503) 546-4460 and scheduling an eye exam. The sooner we spot the signs of glaucoma, the sooner we can start preserving your vision!